- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 24, 2012

MERIDIAN, MISS. (AP) - John Christopher “Chris” Ethridge II, a Mississippi-born musician, bassist and songwriter who was a founding member of the 1960s country-rock band “The Flying Burrito Brothers,” has died. He was 65.

Officials with Robert Barham Family Funeral Home said Tuesday that Ethridge died Monday at Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian. The family said in a statement that Ethridge had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September.

Born and raised in Meridian, Ethridge moved to Los Angeles when he was 17.

Ethridge collaborated with another seminal Southern music figure, Gram Parsons, on several projects, including the Flying Burrito Brothers and the International Submarine Band, and he co-wrote several of Parsons’ solo tunes.

Ethridge spent eight years on the road with Willie Nelson and can be heard on the country legend’s “Whiskey River.”

Nelson wrote in a tweet Monday, “(Willie Nelson and Friends) are sad to hear of the passing of Family member & friend Chris Ethridge he was a talented musician & we were honored to call him Family.”

With Joel Scott Hill and John Barbata, Ethridge recorded in the L.A. Getaway, which many rock critics hail as one of the great, lost 1970s rock albums.

In later years, Ethridge played with many music luminaries, including Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Ry Cooder, both as a session musician and touring player.

Services will be held Wednesday in Meridian.

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